How a Grinch Saved Christmas

by Thomas Lindaman

Ah, December. It’s a month full of joy, fellowship, and good times.

Then we have to go to the mall. That’s when things get dicey. Sure, we may sing "Peace on Earth, good will towards men," but that’s before we have to spend the better part of an hour walking from the car to the front door, sometimes in weather that would make the penguins at Ice Station Zero want to put on a parka over their tuxedos.

I may sound like a Grinch, but I think there are some things that we should do away with around Christmas, and I’m not talking about Aunt Edna’s fruitcake, the one that’s been passed from person to person since the fourth Wise Man, Izzy, got turned away at the manger because he brought it. Here is a list of things that should be first to go.

People who get offended at holiday greetings. I’ve heard people actually get upset if you wish them a Merry Christmas and they’re not Christian. We have Islamic extremist terrorists who want us dead merely because we don’t think Mohammed was all that neato, a situation in Darfur that would make a pessimist out of the best motivational speaker, and a declining situation in Iraq. And you’re upset over Merry Christmas? Listen, if a holiday greeting is the biggest thing on your plate right now, you have a pretty sweet life and no reason to complain about anything.

Lighting displays. Years ago, people got along with putting up a few lights around windows and on the tree. Now, if your house can’t be seen by the Hubble from the outer reaches of the Milky Way, you’re looked down upon by your neighbors. Since when has it been a requirement that you have to recreate the Nativity complete with an electric star that doubles as a spotlight in order to enjoy the holiday? Here’s a clue. If your electric bill around this time of year equals the Gross Natural Product of Paraguay…and the rest of South America, then you’re overdoing it.

"Perfect gift" shoppers. It never fails. I have to go into a major retailer or the mall for one or two items…and I get stuck behind people who are taking up an aisle looking for "the perfect gift" for a loved one. Christmas isn’t about "the perfect gift." Jesus made due with gold, frankincense, and myrrh, not a PlayStation 3. And he’s the son of God! Quit spending so much time trying to find a gift that probably won’t mean that much three months from now.

Holiday Muzak. I can appreciate a Christmas standard like "White Christmas" or "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" as much as anybody. But not when I hear it at every store as I wait in a line longer than outside a law firm filing a lawsuit for anyone offended by "Borat." Let’s mix things up a bit. Get Ozzy Osbourne to record a version of "Oh Holy Night." And who wouldn’t want to hear Run DMC’s Christmas classic "Christmas In Hollis" as done by the Ray Coniff Singers? No one, I tells ya!

Of course, there are some things that make Christmas worth all the hassle. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention them. (That, and I’d be in trouble with the National Association for the Advancement of Good Things at Christmas, and we all know how powerful they are, right?)

Christmas cards. No matter how electronically inclined we become, most people still take the time to send holiday greetings in card form. The warmth you get with those cards can’t be duplicated in an email.

Salvation Army bell ringers. As much a part of the season as "A Charlie Brown Christmas." No matter how many times I pass by the red kettles, I always try to put in some money because it goes to a worthy cause.

Mall Santas. There is something about seeing a mall Santa that makes me feel like a kid again. The goodies you get when you sit on his lap may be different than when I was five, but the feeling is still the same 32 years later.

"Twas the Night Before Christmas." I’ve heard this poem hundreds of times as done by hundreds of people, but I never get tired of it. If you want to get a good non-religious feel for Christmas, this is the poem for you.

Nativity scenes. What "Twas the Night Before Christmas" is for non-religious folks, Nativity scenes are for Christians. A simple tasteful display of Jesus’s birth is never out of style this time of year.

"A Charlie Brown Christmas." The music alone is worth watching the show. But the show itself is perfect the way it is. A Christmas without it just isn’t the same.

And finally…

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men. The best Christmas gifts you can give, and they don’t cost you a dime.

Thomas Lindaman is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. and The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. He is also Publisher of

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